The announcement that today's Daytona 500 race had to be discontinued due to a dramatic crash brings to mind a sermon I preached many years ago. It was many years ago and I was first beginning to follow the historic, dynamic and fascinating female race car driver Danica Patrick in her quest to become the top female and the top driver overall in history.
Ms. Patrick was well on her way even then. I sat glued to the television as she took her car round and round the track at speeds that I, somewhat of a lead foot in my wild youth, could not even imagine getting up to in one piece. As I watched, I noticed that an obvious asset to Patrick was her excellent pit crew. They changed tires as if on an abreviated egg timer, where jobs are measured in seconds, not minutes. They cared for her car and her with true teamwork and expertise. The next day, I preached a sermon, "Who's In Your Pit Crew?"
Every one of us need a good pit crew. They are not only important to race car drivers but are useful as an approach to life. In my own experience, a good pit crew involves about 20 people. For one thing, different people serve different purposes in our lives. The person who does your taxes or offers you legal services is likely not the same person you would go out to a club with or want to take a vacation with. Your mom and your buddy from high school likely do not serve in the same place in your life, even if they may give and take some similar things to and from your relationship.
Our Pit Crew serves our lives on many levels. As a religious person, I believe that God chooses the people in my own pit crew for me. God has selected people with whom I mutually share my diagnosis with chronic illness. They understand it like no one else can or will. God has chosen people who like to talk about investments and help me think about how I make those decisions for my own family. God has chosen people who pray well and people who love to garden and people who love to cook. Since I was born into a small family, only about forty percent of my own pit crew is comprised of relatives. A person with more family might have more relatives in their pit crew.
While it's true that many of us are in touch with those we love, even when most of those people may live at a distance, at levels unprecedented in human history, the pit crew is intended, by design, to be reserved for one's inner circle. These are the people you asked to be in your wedding, happily held sleepovers with as a child, attended school with, served in the military with and so forth. In my own life, most of my closest friends have been in my life for fifteen-twenty years or more. If anything, I am often advised to be careful because I can be too trusting of strangers. Sometimes, I have learned this the hard way. So, I offer a cautionary note: Be wary of allowing anyone into your pit crew if you have known them a length of time.
In all, I would say my life has been more blessed than I ever thought possible since devising this Pit Crew concept. I am in much more contact with loved ones. It's easier when one prioritizes twenty or so folks instead of trying to care for and be cared for by the hundreds of people many of us know. I feel I am closer to my Pit Crew and also able to be "there" for each of them. I also feel that I have a large extended network of loved ones in my life. This is a wonderful feeling!
So, the next time you are reflecting on your own spiritual life and considering new ways to live more spiritually, ask yourself, "Who's in (my) pit crew?" And may God bless you and guide your choices for this special status in your life.